The GOP is going to have to move beyond Donald Trump after the election. But to do so, they are going to have to admit that the underlying grievances that led to much of Trump’s initial support are legitimate. So many people in the GOP now hate Trump supporters so much, they are unwilling to acknowledge the legitimacy of any grievance. They must.
But more importantly, the GOP is going to need a face change. They have replaced John Boehner, but Mitch McConnell remains the face of the GOP in the Senate and will continue to do so. McConnell has been the face of the GOP for a very long time and has been in Washington longer still. This is going to be a problem as the GOP moves forward. McConnell is a force of the status quo and that status quo is what a lot of voters are reacting too.
On top of that, change must come at the RNC. But change will not come easily at the RNC. Reince Priebus is already considering another term. Still other committeemen and committeewomen have taken to beclowning themselves on behalf of Trump. They’ve defended the indefensible, called for purges of those not supporting Trump, etc. It is hard to believe they will recognize the error of their ways after this is over.
As a result of that failure to recognize their errors, I suspect it is more likely they will double down instead of reform. That means they will choose to preserve the status quo, if not advance Trumpian candidates for the RNC Chairman’s position and have fights that fall out to the state level.
Continuing on with Trumpism and Trump supporters as the face of the GOP and leaders of the GOP will keep the GOP from regaining the trust of the American public. Keeping McConnell in charge of the Senate GOP will keep voters in general, and conservatives in particular, from wanting to give the GOP another shot.
In 2016, in a very crowded field, Donald Trump was able to get the nomination with 36% of the vote in the primary — a percentage unheard of for a major party nominee. Even in the divided fields of 2008 and 2012, McCain and Romney both got higher, though both fell below even 50% of the vote in the primary.
One of the reasons Trump was able to get the nomination in such a crowded field with such a small percentage of the vote is because too many of his rivals refused to leave the race, even when it was obvious Trump was using the crowded field to his advantage. The egos of politicians and the belief residing in each of them that they are indispensable gave rise to the most dispensable of all candidates.
I fear this will happen after the election as well and the GOP will stay stuck in the mud.